March 29, 2009


One of my favorite Recession stories this week concerns a high school history teacher in Idaho who's selling advertising space on tests. This isn't for personal gain, folks, he's just struck a deal with a local pizza delivery place that's willing to provide copy paper for the classroom - as long as there's a promotional coupon at the bottom of each page. Is this appalling? I don't think so, and neither does his school district. Budget cuts are dastardly, and every little bit helps.

If you know someone who teaches in the public schools, then you know how much hard-earned cash they plunk down out of their own pockets every year, Recession or not. Believe me, there's a reason why most states give teachers a small tax deduction to reimburse for out-of-pocket classroom expenses. Here in Arkansas the deduction is $250, a drop in the bucket, really, especially for those sainted elementary teachers who likely spend that much on construction paper alone.

I've traveled the back roads of Arkansas giving poetry workshops and such, and learned quickly to bring my own chalk and markers. Nothing new around here, so my hat's off to this enterprising history teacher. He's not only stretched his classroom budget, he's teaching his students something important about financial creativity.

I wonder if he's tested those kids over the Great Depression yet?


  1. This is a wonderful blog, informative, nostalgic, sassy, and funny. I think I went to college with your Michigan cousin. That was after I graduated from a parochial school, a school where the teachers dug into their own pockets just like public school teachers except their pockets weren't as deep, and they didn't have a retirement plan or health benefits, and the only real reward they received was watching the kids they taught go on to become presidents of the United States. Okay, I might have exaggerated the last part but the plight of the poor public school teacher just doesn't do it for me anymore.

  2. You know it, Peevish. I've baked my fair share of cookies and dished out mountains of spaghetti to help fund parochial classrooms. Right there with you.

    We're going to need a change in term limits to get all new U.S. presidents in office. We'd better get to steppin'.


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